Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 10/2/09

I was listening to an interview on WFAN last week as host Mike Francesa was talking to N.Y. Yankees superstar Mark Teixeira.  While talking about his home field, the first baseman actually urged listeners who hadn’t been there yet to make it a point to visit the new Yankee Stadium.  My first reaction/thoughts:  Easy for YOU to say, Mark, when you’re earning more than $22 million per season.  Perhaps if you and some of your teammates were forced to “get by” on, say, ONLY $6-7 million per season, then more people out there actually COULD visit the new shrine in the Bronx…….TRIVIA QUESTION:  The 1983 Houston Astros hit only 97 home runs as a team.  Can you name the club’s HR leader that year (an infielder) who hit a total of just 20?  Answer to follow…….Just HOW good was the pitching in the American League back in 1985?  Fathom this:  Bert Blyleven, who pitched for both Minnesota and Cleveland that year, led the league in games started (37), complete games (24), innings pitched (293.2), and shutouts (5)–but finished THIRD in the Cy Young Award voting behind Bret Saberhagen and Ron Guidry…….This week in sports history, September 28, 1988:  In San Diego, pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers extends his consecutive scoreless-innings streak to 59–breaking the 20-year record of former Dodger hurler Don Drysdale.  Hershiser entered the game vs. the Padres needing nine more shutout innings to tie Drysdale’s mark; he would proceed to shut out San Diego for TEN innings before leaving the game–a pitcher’s battle that was ultimately won by the Padres in 16 innings.  Over the course of Hershiser’s remarkable streak, he threw an impressive FIVE shutouts–blanking Atlanta twice, Cincinnati, Houston, and San Francisco…….Just thinking:  If singer/songwriter Neneh Cherry ever married Yankees pitcher Phil Coke, soft drink lovers everywhere would delight in her full married name of Neneh Cherry Coke…….ITEM:  Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West is arrested for speeding while carrying a loaded shotgun and two loaded handguns on a motorcycle.  Funny, before this, I always considered West a playmaker–NOT a “gunner”…….A suggestion to the football people at the University of New Haven:  The next time you’re politely invited to appear on a cable talk show in order to promote your resurrected program, please have the decency to SHOW UP.  Is it me–or didn’t most of us learn a LONG time ago to NOT bite the hand that feeds?…….Yours truly’s idea of the PERFECT sports-themed day:  A morning tennis date with Gabriela Sabatini–followed by a mid-afternoon golf round with Natalie Gulbis–ending with a candlelit dinner with NESN’s Heidi Watney.  Yeah–maybe in another lifetime, right?…….I don’t know about you, but I miss hearing Marv Albert pronouncing the name of former Jets running back Nuu Faaola…….Answer to trivia question:  Shortstop DICKIE THON–who hit 20 of his lifetime 71 home runs that season for manager Bob Lillis’ third-place club…….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Charlie Kerfeld–who blows out 46 candles on September 28th.  A native of Missouri who had a reputation as a “free spirit,” Kerfeld became a household name while pitching in relief for the Astros in 1986–a year in which he went 11-2 while giving up just 71 hits in 93.2 innings.  However, various health problems limited his success thereafter as he went on to spend just four total seasons in the “bigs.”  Yes, folks, Charlie Kerfeld would be done as a major league pitcher by the tender age of 27.  In his post-playing days, Kerfeld has done some minor league managing and front office work for the Phillies; best wishes, Charlie…….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former tennis great Jack Kramer–who died of cancer recently in Los Angeles at the age of 88.  Kramer, who was the #1 player in the world for much of the late 1940’s, won the Wimbledon singles title in 1947 and the U.S. Championships in ’46 and ’47.  He also won seven Grand Slam titles in doubles before being forced to retire in 1954 due to an arthritic back.  After his playing days ended, Kramer became one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors; he was the founder of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and was heavily involved in the Los Angeles Tennis Open for many years–serving as its tournament chairman and director.  An avid horse racing aficionado, Kramer could often be seen at the Del Mar race track watching his own horses run; he owned more than 100 over the years.  Predeceased by his wife Gloria in 2008, Kramer is survived by five sons and eight grandchildren.  May the great Jack Kramer rest in peace.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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